From an earlier thread:
"I had a VW diesel Rabbit. When on a trip to Wyoming during
extremely cold weather before starting, which was very
difficult, needed a very small shot of ether, coolant would
weep out at the head gasket. After it warmed up a little the
leak stopped, with no further problem. I know, no ether with pre-
combustion chamber heads, but it was the only way to get it started
at 10 degrees below zero. I ran it for over 100,000 miles, no problems.
I think it was basically a converted gas engine, OK for automotive
use, but not sure about continous long term loading of marine use?"
"Right, I only used just a whiff and only in below zero
conditions. In "normal" conditions the glow plugs worked fine.
My daughter had a turbo diesel VW Jetta. After about 60,000
miles after climbing Donner summit or any other long grade
the oil pressure would drop to about 5 to 10 pounds at idle,
setting off the low pressure warning light. Heavier oil didn't
help. Either it was the lower end loosening up or the pump
wearing out? Other than that it ran fine, the turbo really helped
performance. I think it was the same basic engine as in the Rabbit,
maybe a little more displacement, and of course the turbo.
Again, not sure about marine use although in an earlier post Faster
said he had one in two boats with no trouble?"
The whole thread, a little long, but good info:
VW diesels, unexpensive but.. viable?